Tag Archives: vacation

Family Bar Hopping?

14 Mar

When planning vacations, I do not take into consideration the possibility of torrential rain or unforeseeable weather conditions that would stop regular activities for more than an hour or two.  While most of my tropical vacations have been during the “rainy” season, I usually have had pretty good luck from Mother Nature.  A few times I have experienced the afternoon thundershowers and random short downpours.  I view those as perfect for an afternoon nap, some quiet downtime, or even a swim in the rain.  A couple of years back, while visiting the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, that all changed.  My family and I experienced some crazy weather and received a quick education on what a  Tropical Depression really means.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The afternoon before the “storm” began with dark skies and scattered showers.  That was nothing we couldn’t handle.  We went to bed naive of the storm warnings and awoke totally shocked to a flooded bedroom, over flowing pool, and unimaginable amounts of water falling from the sky.  After a couple of hours of board games, eating, and jumping on furniture, it was time for the family to make an escape.  We needed to get out.  I searched the web and came up with a few ideas of what to do with 4 kids, in a foreign county, in torrential downpour.  We came across the ideas of shopping, museums (not in the right place for that), and bar hopping.  We decided on shopping…

We took one of the scariest taxi rides of our life. We were literally racing through what seemed like rushing rivers of water to finally arrive at the mall of Playa del Carmen.  Let’s just say that calling it a mall was a bit of a stretch. It was an experience that lasted all of about 30 minutes.  The “mall” was somewhat of a flea market.  It was filled with pharmacies, souvenier shops, portable carts, and anchored by a store that remided me of the childhood memory of FEDCO (a 1970′s California discount store).  Oh, there was a movie theater, but watching a movie in Spanish wasn’t going to fly with the kids (or grownups).  Needless to say, things were decling rapidly and I needed to act quickly.  I remembered one thing that stood out during my searching the web of things to do…bar hopping.  Surely, not what I had envisioned during a family trip, but at that point we were game for anything.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Off we set to 5th Avenue for a search for the best margaritas and chicken wings in town.  We had the kids in tow and were thankful for the fact that World Cup Soccer was on at every bar in town.   The crowds were huge and loud.  At least no one would take notice of our obnoxious and under stimulated children.  We spent the next several hours and the better part of the next day bar hopping.  The kids drank more sugar than they have ever possibly ingested in a 2 day window, made new friends, ate some fabulous chicken wings, and rode out the storm.  It was a great time had by all.  Salud!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Denver Getaway

8 Nov

Mini kid-free vacations are the perfect way for me to rejuvenate, relax, and reconnect with my hubby.  As a busy mother of 4, these little getaways are quite limited and cherished beyond belief!  Typically, when my husband and I get that rare hall pass from the kids, we escape to a local hotel or revisit somewhere from our past.  For some reason, I fail miserably to think out of the box, and always go for the same old thing…can I say Vegas?

As a last shindig before the end of summer, my hubby and I decided that a quick getaway was needed for our sanity.  We found a last minute “weekend babysitter” for our favorite monsters and we were all over going anywhere away from the craziness of our daily routine.  It was last minute and we weren’t set on anything specific.  While browsing the internet (of course looking for a deal on a Vegas getaway), I came across a last minute deal on a couple of flights to Denver.  The flights were a steal and we were even able to take advantage of some hotel points that we don’t typically use for family travel.  It all fell into place and I pulled the trigger.  While everything seemed to work perfectly, I was honestly still a little unsure about Denver for “vacation”.

We arrived in Denver with a rental car waiting and 2 nights booked at the Cherry Creek Marriott.  We had no plans or expectations, how completely out of character for me!  We kicked off our weekend with a champagne toast and set off on foot to explore.

The night life was fabulous, food was amazing, and the crowds were overflowing with hip, yet laid back people.  We spent the weekend walking all over and loved the bike rental stations (felt very Paris like…haha) to really let us explore every corner of Denver.  We covered miles of the Mile High City and were able to totally unwind.  One of my favorite weekend getaways of all time…sorry Vegas!

Where to go next?  Maybe St.Louis or Boise?  I don’t want to plan too much, it ruins the excitement.

(Thanks to Pinterest for the great photo of the summertime dining and biking scene in Denver)

Mission Inn (minus the kids)

26 Apr

Southern California has an abundance of beautiful beaches, amazing views, elegant hotels, and restaurants to please even the pickiest palate.  The number of options can be totally overwhelming at times.  Newport Beach, Beverly Hills, San Diego and Malibu are just a few that come to mind.  I always love to find a new amazing destination or a place that just simply exceeds my expectations.  My quick getaway to the Mission Inn in Riverside (yes, I said Riverside), did exactly that.

This last minute and loosely planned overnight trip was really unlike anywhere I have ever visited in Southern California.  While on our spring break adventure in So. Cal, I decided last minute to squeeze in an overnight grownup getaway.  The Grandparents offered to watch the little monkeys so my hubby and I could detox from our 3 long days at Disneyland.  There it was, I had 24 hours to escape, including drive time to and from Palm Springs.  I wanted to spend as much time relaxing and as little time as possible on the freeways.  This last minute booking of a hotel room in the hottest  spring break destination of the Southern California desert proved to unsuccessful.  So the search began and I started moving my hotel options further from the spring break mecca of Palm Springs.  I remembered years ago, during my days as a Southern California girl meeting once for a quick brunch at the Mission Inn in Riverside.  I recalled it being nice, the location worked, and even better there was a room available.  I did zero research (very unlike me) and I booked a room.  How terrible could it really be?  Any night without kids is a treat and even better after the Disney marathon we had just completed.

As soon as we pulled up to the valet, I was stunned.  This property was much more beautiful than I had remembered.  As I walked through the lobby and entered this quaint and amazing hotel full of history, I knew at that point I had found one of the gems of Southern California…in Riverside!

The service was impeccable, the rooms were unique and spacious, and the beds were plush.  The steakhouse was amazing (one of several dining options) and compared to any top steakhouse I’ve ever visited.  My late night stop in their Presidential Lounge & Bar was the perfect place to end a great night.

I put my old iPhone camera to work and came up with some half way decent snapshots to document my visit to the Mission Inn.   Mission accomplished…I detoxed from Disney.  Amazing what some eye candy for adults and a great dinner can do for the mind!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 28 other followers